Pedroia shrugs off captain role

FORT MYERS, Fla. – With Jason Varitek unlikely to be walking through JetBlue Park doorways anytime soon unless it is to retire, Dustin Pedroia was asked about being a captain.

“I don’t even think about that stuff,” he said. “It’s Day One for me. I just want to have a good practice and help the team.”

Pedroia, who spent all of Tuesday shooting a Sullivan Tire commercial at JetBlue Park said “I’m excited to go play again. Last year the end was tough, but we have to regroup together and come out and play good baseball year long.”

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On new manager Bobby Valentine, Pedroia said, “I don’t know, I’ve been here a day and half. I’ve met him a couple of times. From what I hear he is thinking about baseball nonstop and thinking about fundamentals and getting this team where it needs to be. It’s going to be exciting.”

On how the Sox can put last year behind them: “Play the game the right way. That’s basically it. I don’t have answers to what went on last year. Last year is over. It was tough. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it. You have to try to turn the page and not think about it and play well and play for your teammates.”

On Ortiz: “It’s 100 degrees and he has a beanie on.”

On playing alongside a new shortstop: “It’s gonna be fine. Scut [Marco Scutaro] did a great job but we have Mike [Aviles] and Nick [Punto] step up and play good ball for us. We’ll be fine.”

Regarding his offseason conditioning: “I was trying to straight bodybuild, man. I hit cage bombs.”

On being at a camp without Terry Francona: “It’s different. It’s the only thing I’ve known. Things change. It’s tough to see him go, especially the way it ended. He’ll always be a close friend whatever he chooses to do forward, I’m pulling for him.”

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On Jacoby Ellsbury: “He had an unbelievable year. We need him to do the same thing. I get on him all the time and tell him anybody can do it once. He’ll be fine. He’s motivated, trust me.”

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